In this work we present the preparation and characterization of cerium doped lanthanum zirconate (LCZO) films and non-stoichiometric lanthanum zirconate (LZO) buffer layers on metallic Ni-5% W substrates using chemical solution deposition (CSD), starting from aqueous precursor solutions. La₂Zr₂O₇ films doped with varying percentages of Ce at constant La concentration (La0.5CexZr1-xOy) were prepared as well as non-stoichiometric La0.5+xZr0.5-xOy buffer layers with different percentages of La and Zr ratios. The variation in the composition of these thin films enables the creation of novel buffer layers with tailored lattice parameters. This leads to different lattice mismatches with the YBa₂Cu₃O7-x (YBCO) superconducting layer on top and with the buffer layers or substrate underneath. This possibility of minimized lattice mismatch should allow the use of one single buffer layer instead of the current complicated buffer architectures such as Ni-(5% W)/LZO/LZO/CeO₂. Here, single, crack-free LCZO and non-stoichiometric LZO layers with thicknesses of up to 140 nm could be obtained in one single CSD step. The crystallinity and microstructure of these layers were studied by XRD, and SEM and the effective buffer layer action was studied using XPS depth profiling.
Keywords: buffer layers; chemical solution deposition; lattice-mismatch; thin films; water-based precursors.